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Group Riding Best Practices
Consider your self in a group riding situation not just when drafting, but also when you are within five seconds of another cyclist either front or back.

1. Never do anything suddenly or without warning.

  • Ride in a straight line at a consistent and predictable pace - “Hold your line”.
  • Always give plenty of warning if you are going to move sideways, slow or stop.
  • Make sure you are clear of other riders before you stop.

2. Give yourself space and a safe path relative to the rider ahead.

  • Ride far enough behind to provide appropriate reaction time.
  • Ride off center of the rider in front to provide an escape route and sightline.

3. Keep your head up, watch the rider in front of you and check down the road, constantly.

  • Look over the shoulder, under the arm or through the legs of the riders in front of you - ride proactively instead of reactively.
  • If you talk, skip the eye contact. Keep your eyes ahead.
  • Back off from the rider ahead when approaching a climb, climbing or descending.
  • Give erratic riders more space. Protect yourself now, talk with them later.

4. Overtaking other riders.

  • Call out "On Your Left" or ring your bell when passing or coming along side other group members.
  • Move right to let group members pass.
  • Weaker riders should stay right so stronger riders can pass or accelerate ahead when moving into single file.
  • Move right and signal (elbow flick) if you want group members to pass you.
  • Move to the back of the group to drink water, take a photo while riding, spit or blow your nose.
  • Don't struggle to hold your place in the group - it will cause you to ride erratically.

5. When in the front, you are responsible for the safety and cohesion of the group behind you.

  • Keep your head up at all times.
  • Do not talk with others while in the front.
  • Point out road hazards in time for those behind to avoid them and pass on the signal. If you see road conditions changing for the worse, yell out for people to spread out.
  • If the group needs to slow down, signal and shout out a warning, “slowing”, “car up”, etc., in time for those behind to respond and pass on the signal.
  • Anticipate stoplight changes to get the entire group through the intersection safely.

6. Stay off the Aerobars and keep your hands near your brake levers unless you are out in front, and only then with clear roadway ahead.

Paceline Riding and Drafting

1. Paceline riding is a type of group riding that requires particular knowledge, cycling skills and practice. If you are interested in pace line riding, go to the Paceline Guide and How to ride in a paceline and not fall down web pages as a starting point. There are many web resources.

2. Participate in drafting only if:

  • It does not endanger group riders who are not participating.
  • You understand and are willing to assume the added risk.
  • All riders involved know and agree to what is occurring.
  • You trust the other riders and know they are knowledgeable, smooth and consistent.
  • You never let your wheels overlap.
  • You will stop drafting when you feel the situation is unsafe.

No One Left Behind

1. Nothing feels worse than having a problem or not knowing the route and realizing that no one is in sight. Nothing feels better than seeing riders return to find you or waiting for you when you round a bend.

  • Keep the rider behind you in sight - the next-to-last rider is the last rider's BEST buddy.
  • Wait or return for riders lost from sight.
  • Communicate problems to other riders: e.g., call out “Flat".
  • Stay with a rider that has to stop.


1. Establish locations or distances to points where the group will stop and wait for everyone to arrive. Consider the following in establishing regroup points:

  • Regroup at places with room to gather completely off the road
  • Regroup after conditions that might cause group separation—after a climb or series of intersections.
  • Regroup before a tricky turn or dangerous section of road.
  • You can regroup at time intervals, say, every half hour, OR
  • Regroup at distance intervals, say, every ten miles. Proceed once everyone has arrived and allowed time to recover.
  • When appropriate, send two riders back to find those missing so one can stay and the other can report back to the group.


1. A rider acting as sweep should know the route and always keep the slowest rider in sight.
2. One approach is for the ride leader to be the sweep—to lead from behind.


1. Buddies stay together—within sight—throughout a ride. There are three approaches to implementing buddies:
2. All riders buddy with another rider
3. An experienced rider buddies with each new rider
4. The next-to-last rider automatically becomes the last rider's buddy. 

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Winter 2018 Freewheeler February 8, 2018 10:54 AM anonymous
JOIN WSCC November 5, 2018 2:34 PM anonymous
SAFE CYCLING BEST PRACTICES December 12, 2017 12:37 AM anonymous
GROUP RIDING BEST PRACTICES December 12, 2017 8:39 AM anonymous
CLUB CONTACTS December 15, 2017 3:46 PM anonymous
About West Sound Cycling Club December 15, 2017 3:22 PM anonymous

Silverdale, WA

Founded Oct 15, 2017

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Bob Mathisrud, Dianne Dee Iverson, Emma Zook, Paul Dutky

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